Dr. John Vazhakoottathil OCD June 18th, 2018

In the Book of Ezekiel we read the prophet speaking of a vision that he had about the Temple of Jerusalem in which he makes a reference on the idol of jealousy. (Ez 8, 3) Ezekiel is taken to the temple, and he sees certain things which were occurring there. The temple is faced to the east so that the main entrance was toward the rising sun. The normal way of entering the temple was through the east gate. On the north side there was another gate called the Altar Gate because through this gate the animals were taken to the altar to be slaughtered. So a person coming through the north gate to sacrifice an animal would see first the altar. Ezekiel is brought in through the north gate and he sees not an altar but an idol, because someone has placed an idol between the gate and the altar, so that it is the focus of attention to anyone who walks into the altar area. The people of Israel turned to the worship of idols and some persons for some momentary fortunes have overshadowed the true worship of God. They believed in a religiosity which promotes false hopes in the worldly fortunes.

The prophet Ezekiel is trying to interpret the historical fact of Babylonian captivity explaining why the people of Israel became captives to a foreign nation. Following some false religious attitudes with worldly motives, the people of Israel lost their capacity to reason and even the religion became an instrument of mutual exploitation and oppression. The Book of Wisdom explains how hypocritical and cunning they were in their day to day behavior and how they haunted and demoralized the little remnantof the true worshippers of God: “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;… Let us test him with insult and torture,… Let us condemn him to a shameful death,…” (Wis 2, 12. 19-20) The author explains how the people will be degenerated into persecutors of one another if they believe that the material welfare is the only means for a better human life and they use the religion as a means to attain momentary gains. When Israel became helpless and weak by this mutual persecution, they became captives to a foreign nation.

The angels of the ancient serpent propagates a culture of unjust discrimination and unhealthy competition. They are roaming everywhere with the fury of a lion to take away the smile of everyone provoking envy and jealousy. These days a girl of seventeen years, with her friends, said to me that life is a stupidity. She asked me why she should live? The new generation is demoralized and became so disoriented by our irresponsible presentation of life. From the childhood onwards they hear the words of the ancient serpent through us which constantly provoke them to think about their limitations and littleness. The gap between the rich and the poor is so wide that the poor loses their capacity to survive. The children of the poor are finding it difficult to nurture an ambition for a better future because they see that the opportunities are scheduled only for the rich and the powerful in the society.

James, in his Letter, speaks always in favor of the poor and of a radical Christianity. He invokes everyone to become really poor in this world by choosing God as their only property. He warns that jealousy and selfish ambition will cause disorder and every vile practice in the society. He clarifies the vanity of the world of desires by pointing out the fact that the more the desire is satisfied the more is the desire. It ends up in the total ruin of the person. The one who has chosen God as the greatest treasure will be filled with heavenly wisdom and ‘the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. (Jas 3, 16-17)

It is not enough to lament ourselves for a moment when we hear about or experience the human problems. We are called to practically think about what can we do to save our families and human communities from this ongoing peril. We are to listen to the words of Jesus, the Lord and Master of our life who wants that we participate in the joy and peace of the new humanity. He proposes by his life and teachings a style of human behaviour and a living together. First of all Jesus insists that we have to overcome every day our temptation to become the greatest of all. He realizes that if we compete each other we all will lose all the creative human qualities overcome by the destructive qualities of jealousy and envy which will destroy the communion of communities and the joy of human life. He therefore proposes a life of mutual service. He asks that everything that we do or say must be at the service of the other. We are asked to work at the health and happiness of others. As a result of this mutual respect and service, instead of one being great, all will enjoy the satisfaction of being great. Here we discover that to be accepted as great in the human community we need not wage a negative war of oppression and imposition of our hegemony. If we accept and respect everyone as great, we will also be respected as great. The only thing that we will lose is the negative and sadistic happiness of dominance.